RIT is honored to present the 2021-2022 Outstanding Alumni Award to Sudhakar G. “Bal” Dixit ’74 and Anita Dixit ’91Sudhakar G. “Bal” Dixit ’74 and Anita Dixit ’91.
Established by the Office of the President in 1952, this is the highest honor the university can bestow upon an alumnus or alumna and recognizes their professional accomplishments as well as service and generosity to the university.
After receiving his degree in textile technology from the University of Punjab in India, Dixit emigrated to the United States in 1964, joining Union Carbide Corporation as an advanced technologist. There, he helped develop carbon fiber for lightweight structural composites that were later incorporated into General Dynamics’ F-111B fighter aircraft.
Dixit earned his master’s degree in textile technology from the University of Massachusetts in 1966, and soon after joined Garlock, where he was tasked with establishing what, at the time, was the most modern asbestos plant in the world in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Always striving to improve, Dixit went on to earn an MBA from RIT’s Saunders College of Business in 1974.
In 1978, he left Garlock, launching his own company, Newtex, where he developed Zetex fiberglass fabric, the industry’s first safe and commercially viable alternative to asbestos. In just five years, Newtex had grown to $2.4 million in sales. In recognition of Dixit’s forward-thinking and entrepreneurial leadership, the company was recognized as one of the Top 10 Small Businesses in the U.S., and in 1991, President George H.W. Bush presented Dixit with the Excellence in Exporting Award.
Dixit led Newtex to become the only fully integrated provider of woven materials and fabric-based systems that protect from heat and fire—from proprietary glass yarn processing, in-house-weaving, coating and laminating to custom-designed and custom-sewn systems. Newtex continued to grow, acquiring companies in Singapore and China.
Integral to the success of Newtex was Bal’s wife Anita, a fellow RIT graduate, having received her master’s degree in career and human resource development in 1991. Anita served in several roles at Newtex including director, secretary and treasurer.
As Newtex grew, so did Bal and Anita’s commitment to the Rochester community and RIT. Bal joined RIT’s Board of Trustees in 2001, helping advise RIT in areas such as government relations, strategic planning and audit. Bal also served on the Saunders College of Business Dean’s Council as well as their Co-op and Placement Advisory Board. He was honored with the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award in 1992. Meanwhile, Anita served for many years on the Women’s Council of RIT, including several terms as co-chair. She has worked diligently to support the success of RIT women students, faculty and staff and helped the Women’s Council raise money for their endowed scholarship funds.
In addition to their service to RIT, Bal has served on the boards of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester General Hospital, and the US Department of Commerce’s Upstate New York Export Council. In 1996, Dixit was appointed director of the Federal Reserve Bank by former Chairman Alan Greenspan and served as chairman of the board of the Buffalo branch of the Federal Reserve Bank for five years. He was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2003. Anita previously served as a member of the board of directors of the Lifetime Assistance Foundation, Inc., which fosters independence, dignity, and respect for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also served on the board of directors of the United Nations Association of Rochester, a nonprofit organization that promotes civic debate and discussion of global, social, and economic issues, including human rights, international justice, sustainable development, and fair trade. Anita has also served on the Rochester General Hospital Gala Committee, raising funds for the hospital. She has served on the boards of various Indian organizations in the Rochester-area, both as Cultural Secretary and Treasurer, and as a guest artist-in-residence in SUNY Geneseo’s Dance Studies Program, where she shared her passion for Indian dance.
In 2018, Bal and Anita committed $2 million to build a new lab inside of RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) that provides innovative research and testing on fire-resistant materials and systems. The Bal Dixit Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Fire Protection Research is designed to perform industry testing, research and analysis on fire-resistant materials for product manufacturers or sellers of protective clothing, fabrics and coatings that require flammability, heat resistance, smoke composition and other advanced testing. The lab works with companies seeking custom thermal testing and product development. The lab has been a longtime dream for Bal and Anita.